Biographical Notes re

Charles A. (Chuck) Stone

Page 1 of 4 Pages, of Chapter 10,


After an all too brief visit with family back in Minnesota, divesting ourselves of our Rambler and Volkswagen (a strange feeling, not being a car owner), and checked in for departure at the JFK Airport in New York. There was an airline strike in progress and we would learn later how this would leave an impression on our lives. Our family was fighting the flue bug, enroute, so getting some rest, enroute, was our top priority. Changing planes in Rome, soon found us circling down through clouds with the Neapolitan landscape in view for the first time. An escort officer from the NATO Headquarters, a USAF Officer named Bob Prouty, met us and drove us into the city. He helped us check in at the NATO Headquarters, the U.S. Navy support facilities and assisted us in getting into the apartment hunting process.

Progress went quickly. We purchased a used Volkswagen Sedan from a local U.S. civilian employee. We soon identified a potential apartment rental where a U.S. military family was just vacating. We were introduced to the apartment owners, Vittorio Tura and his wife, Ada. In our two years in Naples, they became dear friends. With our rental contract signed, with permission from my job supervisors, Nell, the children and I proceeded to repaint the entire inside of the apartment and bought furniture that was necessary in a home with no closet spaces.

We asked the Navy support office to have our air-freighted, most important and most needed possessions, delivered to our apartment. Their check back through the system proved that the air freight system and completely lost track of the shipment. They said they would do some tracing. After a few days, we were notified that there was “no luck.” They suggested we file a claim and proceed to replace all of our stuff. We advised them to keep looking, as much of that stuff was almost irreplaceable, to our family. In the meantime, we went into a make-do mode and waited for our ship-born stuff to turn up.

Amidst all of this, I processed in, identifying my workplace and the people I would be working for, with and who would be working for me. I was assigned in the Office of the Directorate of Plans, Headquarters Air South, NATO. The commander of this division was an Italian General by the name of Brig . Gen. Dieago Recagno. His deputy was USAF Colonel, Ellie Davenport, myself as Exec. Officer, a USAF Tech Sgt. and three Italian airmen in the ranks of Sergeants and Corporals. It proved to be a congenial group. The Commander of Air South was a U.S. Navy Admiral. The Commander of the USAF Component was a three star USAF General Hardy. His Chief of Staff was a USAF Brig. Gen. Beason The Director of Operations was a Greek General. The Director of Material was a Turkish General. As I recall, each of these had a USAF officer as deputy. There was a scattering of British officers within many of these departments. My particular job was typical of that of an Exec. Officer, working with all parties that were assigned within our Directorate and serving as the directorate coordinating link with outside offices and individuals, where appropriate. I was responsible for a considerable quantity of classified materials, as might be expected.

Our family residence on the third floor of an apartment building on Via Manzoni was located on a high ridge, near the Park of Remembrance. We could look off our kitchen balcony and see the Isle of Capri in the distance. Actually we had that view three to five days a month. The rest of the time the smog and pollution was so thick we could hardly see the ocean. Looking off our living room balcony, we could see the suburb community of Bagnoli laid out below the cliff and in the distance the Isle of Ischia. In his distaste for Neopolitans, during his reign of power, Mussolini had established major steel and cement plants in the area we could view from our apartment balcony. He wanted them smogged on a daily basis. He was quite successful. Many mornings I would go down to get in our car and have to scrape residue off the windshield with a razor blade. Our apartment building was populated with a mix of Italians and U.S. NATO employees. There was an Army Colonel and his family living a couple of floors above us who had two lovely daughters about the age of our children, which was a real plus.

After weeks of waiting, we were notified that our air-freight baggage had been found on a loading dock in Verona, Italy, standing out in the rain. When it was delivered to our apartment, the boxes sagged onto the floor with a very wet squishing sound. We had a number of items that were damaged, but it was far from a total loss. In the meantime, our shipboard stuff had arrived, in good condition, as well.

Soon after we were settled in NATO had a practice alert that sent many of us deep into a mountain combat control communications and management control bunker. It was a most interesting experience and gave me some feel for their preparedness efforts. In my day-to-day work, I became increasingly aware of the impact that history, personalities, national pride and fears, and sense of relative status, played in all of our interrelationships.

Our children were registered in a High School system that was run by the U.S. Government. As we learned more and experienced more of their method of operation and actual performance, we came to highly respect the teachers and their policies of operation. The children had dress codes that were willingly adhered to. They received close, warm and instructive attention from their teachers. One of our favorite teachers was also the choir director for our Chapel activities. Nell was soon active in the chapel choir and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as she had enjoyed using her gift of song wherever the opportunity presented itself in our life journey together. She has always had a knack for administration and order. It was only natural for her to play a part in keeping music and files in good order. This gift brought pleasure and a sense of relief to the Choir Director and Chaplain involved.

View of our apartment living room

View of the dining area, decorated for Christmas

View from living/dining room balcony. Note the soccer stadium. It was amazing to see the procedure they used to fill and empty the stadium. God help you if you were caught in traffic when the crowd poured out of the stadium.

General Recagno arriving at a reception in the company of his wife.

In our two years in Naples, we experienced times of balmy beautiful weather on to the floods that washed some buildings down the sides of some of the steep drop-offs.

The changing seasons and time of day or night brought such a variety of visual experiences. We would often awaken to the sound of fireworks as they celebrated a particular saint’s day.

One of the routes we took into the city included this view of the Bay of Naples.

Naples American Chapel Choir
after presenting the “Seven Last Words”
by Theodore Dubois, 7 April 1968

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